Love Hina Author Says Harem And Moe Manga Are Dead

By Ishaan . August 28, 2010 . 10:29am


Ken Amatsu, creator of series such as Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima, has stated that harem and moe manga are well past their prime. He goes on to make a list of notable trends he observes in the manga industry today:


1. Male protagonists are absent


Many anime are now nothing but girls, and the role of the “male character being excited by female characters for viewers to empathise with” has disappeared.


2. Male buying power has reduced


Now women buyers of both anime and manga are predominant. Oricon comic rankings show most of the top titles are women-oriented.


3. Male viewers can now empathise with female characters


The number of male fans who simply don’t view female characters as objects of sexual desire at all is increasing, even in titles like “K-ON!”. No more are they just thinking “I want to be part of that circle,” now they are getting into the characters themselves.


He then mentions that a friend of his suggested that, perhaps, this would be the year of yuri manga (involving a romance between two women) but states that he personally doesn’t believe yuri to be all that popular.

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  • Ereek

    #2 and #3 aren’t necessarily a bad thing. #3 especially is a good thing.#1 is bad because the Japanese are generally quite bad at writing realistic female characters. I find male protagonists in manga generally react more realistically than female protagonists put into the same situation.That said, I enjoy some Harem manga, not really Love Hina, though, and definitely not any with a female lead (unless the harem is second to something like “adventure” in genre).

    • Yea, I can’t for the life of me figure out why anime / manga women are so hard to do. I actually feel it’s easier to write a female character than a male one for some reason.

      • andref

        Personally I feel women are in some ways more complex than men and trying to capture that in manga might be hard for many

        • It’s not THAT hard. Just make her have constant mood swings, say unpredictable things (you know, such as, “I’ll bite your pants off if you spill that!”), obsess over little things, etc.

          The fact that they can be complex is in itself what makes them simple. Expect the unexpected, basically. That’s pretty easy to do, right?

          I will admit though, men are much easier to get a read on. You know if one sits down on the couch and starts watching TV, they will be there for a while and try to get someone else to get them a drink or food while they are up and about, instead of just getting up themselves to get it, lol.

          • andref

            Though I do wonder how things differ over the cultural boundary, but that is a good point

          • Guest

            BINGO you just hit the nail on the head.

            Japanese culture and their view on women. Thats why you view it as difficult to understand. Their views on a woman’s place and what is socially acceptable is much different than ours.

          • FireCouch

            I can’t tell if you are being serious. You just put every woman into the same category.

        • I really don’t think women are complex. We just have a different mindset from men. Men just seem more simple because they tend to be more direct about things.

      • Joanna

        Personally, and this is honestly what I think. It’s hard for some men because they view “women” as some different species who could not possibly think or act like them, “men”. Because they create women (in their mind) as an alien, they are disconnected from all female characters and this disconnection creates very superficial female characters. To produce a character, both male and female, that has depth and to which one can relate to, an author needs to put themselves into the character to make them human, give them human motives, desires, dreams, ideas, etc.Of course, that’s not to say that female authors may not have the same problem with male characters, because some of them do.

    • JustaGenericUser

      I think it’s harder to write female characters because people appear to be more critical of them for some reason.

      It’s usually okay to write a “perfect” or otherwise special main male character. But if a female character is “perfect” or special, people bash her and call her a Mary Sue. It’s okay for guys to be irredeemable jerks (omg he’s so cool!) but not gals (what a bitch, she should die!). Don’t get me started on feminazis, who are NEVER pleased with anything involving female characters in comics/animation/movies/books.

  • Guest

    In relation to games I’ve noticed an icreasing amount of Otome games that seem to be based off manga anime etc. now even the Wii has one. So yeah females have even populated the gaming market. Of course this is Japan only.Anyways, I hope he’s right becaus I’m sick of Harem andMoe anyway. 70’s and 80’s and a few select 90’s manga/anime was where it was at imo.They need to back to the roots theres hardly any cool stuff anymore

    • thebanditking

      While I don’t agree completely (Darker Then Black, Full Metal Alchemist, Kino no Tabi are all 2000+ animes that I loved) I also think Anime and Manga need to return to their roots. We need more stuff like Record of Lodoss War, Vampire Hunter D, Tetsujin 28, GunSmith Cats, and Astro Boy.

  • doubletaco

    >but states that he personally doesn’t believe yuri to be all that popular.Just keep writing your Setsuna/Konoka yurigoggles scenes.

  • malek86

    I’m not a big fan of Love Hina or harem series, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the new direction the manga industry is taking.

  • i was reading this post.
    but why does it make me so sad?
    I read Ken Amatsu’s works, my friend collected them so i had tons of opportunities to read them. I never had imagined that he would think this way.
    I mean, i ENJOYED his works.Thats a deep scar in my heart.

  • I hope it doesnt mean that he is going to end Mahou Sensei Negima anytime soon

  • karasuKumo

    There’s no pleasing people, I personally love K-On for the reasons he stated. I am sick of the no personality females, to each their own really.

  • andref

    Another reason I could add to why it is dieing, is that I feel they are resorting to many cliche romantic comedy scenes and leaving the whole manga to feel way too predictable

    • Ereek

      That’s true, to an extent. But things like Josei almost completely ignore the “standard” cliches you see, and we’re talking about here, because its target is adult women. They have their own set of cliches, but it’s actually a good deal more realistic than the moe girls and harems.It’s really too bad that much of the time Josei ends up so realistic it’s boring. I suppose that’s one reason why I’ve never been able to tolerate a true “love” story in manga, but am absolutely fine when it’s attached to something else, like adventure, fighting, solving a mystery, the like.

      • andref

        But usually when its attached to something else, then it usually doesn’t take to the forefront of the plot and it usually hangs out in the background. Though when it does that, IMO it feels way more natural than those… that probably would never happen in any circumstance in the primarily romance manga

        • Ereek

          Western writers (not game writers, I mean people who write books) are generally better at balancing the two. I really hate to use this as an example, because we all know Richard is Gary Stu, but Terry Goodkind did a nice job balancing romance and adventure in the earlier Sword of Truth books.

          But games, anime, and manga don’t have the luxury of being a 6,000+ page-long book series.But you’re right. When the romance takes a dominant place in the story, I usually find it boring. If the author can manage more of a balance (think Fushigi Yuugi) then it’s fine. Realism in romance is what kills the “entertainment” factor for me. I’m married. I have enough “realistic romance” in my life as it is.

      • Joanna

        I understand what you are saying. Usually it’s the same for me, but there if the characters are endearing, I can read even the slowest slice-of-life romance because the characters themselves become the hook. On the opposite end, if the characters do everything to get on my nerves, even if the stuff outside of the romance is interesting, I just cannot put myself through the torture (perfect example for me is Hot Gimmick. The mystery about what happened was interesting, but I just could not keep reading because of the main relationship).

        Anyways, I like when authors balance different things. Pure fighting and no character development also makes me bored. :)

  • WonderSteve

    I enjoyed Love Hina manga, but I am kind of glad that harem and moe are dying. There are just too many of them…

    I hope #2 doesn’t mean we will see more Yaoi manga….

  • He had some good points, you know..up until he said this:”The number of male fans who simply don’t view female characters as objects of sexual desire at all is increasing, even in titles like “K-ON!”.”Are you kidding? K-ON! is one of the worst right now because of all the loli characters and people’s growing fetish for dark skin, no thanks to Azusa. It also has TONS of doujinshi out for it, depicting those characters from the series as sexual objects. Trust me, Amatsu-san, it’s still happening more often than not I’d say.He should look more into that stuff, really. His defense is pretty moot when there are still guys out there that want to have an anime girl as their, “waifu”. Well, in my opinion anyway :P

    • puchinri

      Wow, I completely forgot about that part. You’re right. K-On especially is a huge title where that line doesn’t hold true. Although the dark skin thing is weird in the anime community. Little Brown Girls proved that (although even with a tan or whatever, would Azusa be considered all that dark skinned? Even most fanart features her light-skinned). But I see how it relates with dark skin and moe, especially coming from K-On.

      But I agree. I’m not even sure what he’s trying to say really, reading over it a few times, but the only thing I completely agree on with him is that yuri isn’t as popular (at least compared to het harem, yaoi and just general no romance stuff).

    • Yeah, I had to do a double take on that sentence. I like K-On, the slice-of-life genre is something I’ve been enjoying since Azumanga Daioh, but there is A LOT of fawning over some of the characters in series like K-On. There are fans that rally for the characters for what they are as any fan would for anything else, but then there’s part of the show that completely caters to the whole moe frenzy. If he had said maybe Lucky☆Star, then sure, the characters are overexahgerated, but not all …agh, can’t think of the word or phrase, but they all don’t reach K-On’s level.

      Point #3 in general, from what I see the two traits increased quite a bit over the years, so I see more people going towards one extreme or even both. Actually, the really old school fans I know empathized as well idolized female characters. I know it seems lopsided now, but that’s what I always saw.

      As for the first point, I noticed more series that aren’t necessarily harem ones have female characters outnumber the males 10-1 (literally), but hey, I don’t mind ;)
      I think shows with a balance of both genders will appeal to more people almost always, like Baccano or Yotsuba, but that could just be me.

    • thebanditking

      Agreed I think he either just doesn’t get it, doesn’t want to or won’t admit it. These manga heroines are getting younger and younger and the situations they are put in are getting more adult with each title. I really hope Japan passes that censorship law that would prohibit minors from being show in revealing clothing/adult situations. The dojinshi out there for K ON! and Hatsune Miku is to put it nicely f***ing disgusting. The difference here is not that men are objectifying female characters less but rather the age of the characters is; which is really quite disturbing. I miss the old pervs (sad to say), you know the ones who drew boobs too big, or had way too much of an office lady fetish. At least those stereotypes were of women, not little girls….

      • mirumu

        I have an extreme dislike for K-on! and everything it stands for, but I fail to see why imaginary minors should have rights enshrined in law. Personally I feel such laws trivialize actual abuse of real children, and if they put as much effort into stopping the real thing we may actually get somewhere.

        I agree with you about Ken Akamatsu though. In his own works he’s resorted to both harems and underage girls for years so he’s not exactly an uninterested party in the debate. To me his comments read more as sour grapes at Negima and Love Hina being vastly more popular than Mao-chan was. Mao-chan being the only non-harem/romance work in his back-catalog which also co-incidentally focused on a group of young girls much like K-On!. My suspicion is that he’s planning to give the all-girl format another go and is using K-On!’s popularity as leverage to justify it to the publishers.

        • Guest

          I just want the law passed actually so mangaka can start trying to think of something else instead of them all doing the same damn thing like a broken record. Real lack of creativity and individualism these days

    • gatotsu911

      If anything, the sexualization and objectification of female characters in anime and manga is worse now than ever before. I miss the days when sexuality in anime was up-front and playful, instead of repressed and creepy.

  • You know what we need?Some more UC Gundam.

  • I personally hate Harem Manga, and Anime. I know alot of people that also hate it. However too many people like it; and I doubt it’s dead. It’s probably far from it. It may have lessened in popularity, sure, but it’s by no means dieing, atleast not yet.

    Hopefully they release more Action Anime. I’m sick of all the romance crap they release nowadays <_<

    • raymk

      There’s more action anime and manga fans than anyone. You still have to fill all genre’s so they need some moe in there for good measure.

  • puchinri

    I think if he means, harem manga are so bland now compared to before, like say the general harem now compared to series like Tenchi and even Negima, then he’s right. Harem is everywhere now, but I don’t think it’s as fun.

    Moe on the other hand, is having a serious re-emergence and changing. Like, changing a lot. At least in terms of moeblob (K-ON style). I actually don’t care for K-On and such myself, so it’s kind of sad to see it growing so much.
    I do miss the diversity in art styles before though and moe with its own distinct styles and characters instead of ‘this is the prime example of moe’.

    Well, that’s how things feel to me.

    And I agree completely, yuri sadly isn’t all that popular. Yaoi and shounen-ai however, is all over the place. But there are more yuri series and characters lately and for that, I’m glad.

    • Moe changing? I could see moe-blobs evolving the same way as a Grimer evolves into a Muk :P
      I agree. I don’t think it will stay on the forefront forever, but much like with harem series themselves, they won’t disappear either and is probably here to stay. Maybe it’ll turn out like the magical-girl series. Those shows were enormous weren’t they? I know there’s always a Pretty Cure show showing somewhere these days, even though not many people talk about it.

      • thebanditking

        I am just hoping its a fad and not a cultural sign that Japan is shifting to become a land of pedophiles, that would truly be sad…

        • puchinri

          Well even as popular as lolicon is in Japan, magazines like LO keep a distinct difference between fantasy and reality with their ads and such.

          But I think Japan’s anime industry is becoming a land of extremes slowly. And I think ecchi is slowly filtering through everything more often and casually. I don’t think shounen was always riddled with ecchi, but now it’s hard not to see it or something bordering it in a lot of shounen manga.

      • puchinri

        Larger and uglier? ouo’

        Indeed. I think the thing is now, there’s more of a focus of one art style representing moe than characters and their types, but I think it’ll balance out after some time. And I hope harem balances out again too.

        Indeed. I love the magical girl shows, and while I think there have been some significant changes within the drama, they’re a lot like seinen, jousei and most shounen; They stay the same at heart. Even PreCure brought changes to magical girl series, just like Sailor Moon did, but I think magical girl adapts well. I wish other genres and such of anime adjusted and changed/evolved the way magical girl shows do. (Though there are some relatively bad ones coming out lately.)

        Although, PreCure is very popular. But it has a smaller fan following in America. (I blame 4kids ruining the Futari wa.)

  • Harem is long gone. Moe is on borrowed time but still has some years left to go.

  • Aoshi00

    I never cared much for Akamatsu Ken’s generic art, didn’t really like Love Hina or Negima.. I liked Ranma 1/2 a lot back then. I read all the Ichigo 100% (good manga but horrible anime) and ToLoveRu too (the manga just ended a little while ago). I like Kawashita Mizuki (Hatsuikoi Limited/Anetoki) and Yabuki Kentarou’s art a lot.

    • thebanditking

      Agreed, really I think this post is more Akamatsu admitting defeat then him having some big realization. Heck half of what makes harem manga so boring he constantly uses over and over in each of his creations.

  • Souji Tendou


    I dread the future when most Anime have female protagonists, or worse, it’s all about Yuris…… ;_;

    I don’t like the over Moe anime but I still love the harem genre. Japan, don’t let it die please… ._.

  • shion16

    i already said itJapan brainless = MOEif you see NEGIMA, its a harem anime but with a good plot and a lot of shonen action, the harem elements by itself wouldnt be enough for entertaimentAnd Negi is a good male protagonist.
    Ken Akamatsu knew how to renew his works

    and actually i love negima =P

  • thebanditking

    I’m glad the Harem setting is fading as I really don’t like those stories much. Sure I watched Tenchi Muyo and read some Love Hina back in the day but I am just not into that kind of setting anymore, especially since the girls tend to be so young (I’m not into that pedo/loli junk). Though I see the trend in manga going towards only two types of stories, the slice of life and the Naruto/DBZ genres. I like D. Gray man and Bleach just fine but those types are just too long/drawn out. We need more anime/manga like Ghost in the Shell, Darker then Black, Kino no Tabi, Trigun, and Hellsing. I am growing tired of these 5+ year manga projects that just never seem to end.

  • JustaGenericUser

    Better than when anime was yaoibait wankfest all the time. Then again, I’m a guy, so it’s probably just bias talking here.

    Also, the article makes this sound negative but I don’t see what’s wrong with #3.

    • raymk

      I don’t see what’s wrong with #3 either must be japan in thinking less of their females talking there.

  • Still love the manga Lova Hina just after that went towards other that isn’t close to it since Negima kind of bored me.

  • cmurph666

    Needs moar DBZ.

  • Justinzero

    “Ken Amatsu stated that harem and moe manga are WELL PAST THEIR PRIME”

    It’s about damn time!

    • Hahaha, well, he’s right. They’ve been past their prime since the dawn of time!I don’t mind some romance-y things, like Ah! My Goddess and Clannad and stuff, but seriously, I’ve never been interested in the harem and moe stuff.The only reason I liked Clannad was when it wasn’t AT ALL focused on being moe or funny.We need a resurgence of Berserks, and Demon City Shinjukus, and Macross Pluses.Manga and anime writers have forgotten 2 very important things, and one of them pretty much MUST be present for the story to be awesome: 1) Violence.2) Meaningful stories.There doesn’t need to be blood and death, of course not, but at least put in meaning to what you’re trying to say. And if not, put in cool violence, like Go Nagai or something.

      Edit: Although I don’t necessarily agree with his specific points. Having female characters who aren’t simply objects of sexual desire can be/often is a good thing.

      • Joanna

        I fail to see how violence is necessary for a story to be awesome. I like action manga/anime just as much as the next person, but to say all manga/anime need this to be awesome is narrow-minded.

  • gatotsu911

    I was going to say that for once I agree with this guy when I read the headline, then I read the reasons for his statement and nearly choked.

  • EvilAkito

    The year of yuri manga? That would be a dream come true. But I’d have to agree that yuri probably isn’t all that popular :(

    I don’t really follow manga, but looking at anime trends, I don’t really see any decline in moe at all. I mean, I wish there was a noticeable decline, but I just have a feeling that the moe genre is the ultimate safe bet when you’re creating an anime on a low budget and want at least a small return.

    Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we’re finally at the point where more and more fans are getting bored with anime and manga thanks to the over-saturation of shallow, boring moe bullshit. I know I’m sure as hell bored with it, and as a result, I’m spending significantly less time watching anime these days. Sure, there is plenty of good stuff if you know where to look, but that’s the problem; I don’t have time to sample a bunch of boring shows until I find something that I like. There is just too much new anime each season and most of it is crap.

  • girly circle like K-ON or manly super cool like Cowboy Beebop … I like that kind of stories

  • What we NEED is a harem anime unlike Love Hina! Every guy is basically this or mistake for this:

    A pervert with no redeeming qualities, one who takes beatings from girls who don’t ggive him a chance to explain himself (Ai Kora, Love hina, Asu no Koichi), and one who STILL finds a reason not to drop the worst of them (the Naru Nagesawa) like a rock!

    I am sick and tired of these types! (Ladies vs Butlers)It is not funny anymore!

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